Cheryl Gillan has labelled George Osborne’s actions “premature” after the Chancellor invited investment bids for the controversial HS2 project.

Mr Osborne, who is currently in China, has urged investors from the country to bid for contracts worth up to £11.8bn despite the plans still requiring parliamentary approval which could take over a year.

The proposed route of the high-speed rail network from London to Birmingham will cost around £22bn and will pass directly through Chiltern’s area of outstanding natural beauty.

The MP for Amersham and Chesham told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is premature. The bill hasn’t even made it through the House of Commons, it’s still in committee.

“The earliest it could get royal assent – given that it still needs to go through the House of Lords – is the back end of next year.”

Mrs Gillan has been outspoken in her disapproval of the project and could vote again her party on the matter.

She said: “I fundamentally don’t think this is the right project, in the right place, at the right time.

“If HS2 starts then it’s got to be done properly and to the highest environmental standards.

“It needs the investment in the right places to give us the full environmental protection we need in this modern day and age.

“The government has agreed to tunnel part of it around Chiltern’s area of outstanding natural beauty, but hasn’t agreed to tunnel all of it.

“If we sacrifice part of a nationally designated area, such as Chiltern, that would be absolutely wrong.”

Construction on the London-West Midlands phase was expected to begin around 2017 with the line due to open in 2026.

However this estimate relies on Parliament approving the necessary powers in 2015 which - as Mrs Gillan points out – is still some way off.

Initial HS2 plans (High Speed 2) include 400m-long trains with up to 1,100 seats travelling at speeds of up to 250mph.